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Differences Between Doulas and Midwives

Posted by Live Love Mom on July 27, 2021 at 9:05 AM Comments comments ()

by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree



 

Even in this day and age, people are still getting the two terms confused. Some people believe they are one and the same, and will hire a doula thinking she is a midwife, but at a lower price. This couldn't be further from the truth. Here is how to tell the difference between a doula and a midwife, their jobs, and more.



Midwife.


A midwife is a medical practitioner who has medical training on many things. She knows infant CPR, how to measure the uterus and determine baby's position, monitor the fetal heart rate, preform ultrasounds, and more. She can do cervical checks, prescribe medications and medical procedures, and adds this information into your medical records. She knows how to spot and prevent medical complications in both babies and mothers. She is recognized in the medical community and is just as informed as doctors. She can work in a birth center, a hospital, and even go to your home for you to give birth there. She takes your blood pressure, weighs you, administers urine and blood tests. They are experts in the care of low-risk and healthy pregnancies and mothers. They can also do health checks, such as if you got an episiotomy or c-section, they can tell if the scars are healing properly. They also offer newborn checks and visits up to 6 weeks postpartum. She can also refer you to a nutritionist or OB-GYN if you need it. 



Doula. 


A doula is a support person and is not a medical professional. They are trained for up to a year about pregnancy, birth, postpartum and breastfeeding. A doula will focus on the health of the mother, even after the baby is born. She will ask you questions about your mood and thoughts, and make sure you are healthy. She can inform you on everything you want to know about pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period. She will teach your partner how he can help you and teach pressure points he can use to help your pain during labor. She will encourage you and empower you as a person and as a mother. A doula will give you massage, acupressure, and physical support during labor. She can use many different methods to make you as comfortable as possible during labor. She can even use a TENS machine if you want, and she holds space for you. They don't judge and are your own personal cheerleader. After the birth, they can help you establish a routine as a family and check in with you to see how you are. She sticks around as long as you need her and can prepare meals and do some light housework to lighten your load. She can also watch your newborn so you can shower or get some sleep, or watch your older children so you can get some one-on-one time with your newborn. 



What they have in common.


They both get to know you, your family and your birth preferences. They also both offer prenatal courses and postpartum visits. They can both ask you questions and help you make your birth plan. They are both very well informed on birth, pregnancy, postpartum period and breastfeeding. They can both work in birth centers and have connections and resources in the community. 



Got more to add or any experiences with a midwife or a doula? Comment below!






Laboring Positions To Ease Pain

Posted by Live Love Mom on April 1, 2021 at 9:05 AM Comments comments ()

by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree




Standing or


walking. There’s a great reason to get vertical: It helps you work with gravity, allowing your pelvis to open and your baby to move down into your birth canal. Walking is something you'll be more likely to do early rather than later in labor since it'll be harder to head for the corridors for a few laps once the contractions are coming one right after the other. Standing, however, is something you can do at any point during labor. Leaning against a wall or your partner for support during contractions is best, since it's not that easy to stand up straight when you're getting squeezed down below. Can you stand up and deliver? Gravity aside, that would be tricky — but you can squat (see below).



Rocking. Rocking, either on a chair or swaying back and forth, allows your pelvis to move and encourages the baby to descend (down, baby, down!). And the more upright you are, the more gravity is able to help you out.



Squatting. You’ll probably use this position only late in labor or during delivery itself. Like standing, squatting also employs Newton's finest while opening up the pelvis to give your baby more room to move on down. You can use your partner for squatting support (you'll probably be a little wobbly, so you'll need all the support you can get), or you can use a squatting, or birthing, bar, which is often attached to the birthing bed (leaning on the bar will keep your legs from tiring out as you squat).



Sitting. Sitting — in bed, in your partner's arms or on a birthing ball — can ease the pain of contractions and allow gravity to assist in bringing your baby down into the birth canal. Sitting also helps to open up your pelvis, and it's a lot easier than squatting for long periods.



Leaning over or



kneeling. Leaning forward — over a stack of pillows on a bed, for instance — or kneeling over a chair or birthing ball can be super helpful when you have back labor (when the back of the baby's head is pushing against your spine) because it encourages the baby to move forward, taking the pressure off your back. Alternatively, you can lean over your partner's shoulder to relieve some of that pressure.



Hands and knees. Going on all fours is another way to cope more comfortably if you're experiencing back labor. This position allows you to do pelvic tilts for comfort, while giving your partner great access to your back for massage and counterpressure (you'll want it, big time). Many moms like to deliver in this position no matter what kind of labor they're having, since it opens up the pelvis and uses gravity to coax baby down.



Side-lying. Better than lying on your back because it doesn't compress the major veins in your body (which could compromise blood flow to your baby), side lying is a good option if you’re too tired for squatting or sitting. Lying on your side also puts your partner in a good position — he'll be better able to put his best massage techniques to use. Side-lying can also be a good delivery position — it can help slow a too-fast birth (yes, there is such a thing), as well as ease the pain of some contractions.



Do any labor positions make childbirth easier? An analysis of medical studies shows that upright positions — standing, walking, squatting and sitting— may shorten the first stage of labor by approximately one hour and 22 minutes. Studies also show that women who spend part of labor in an upright position are less likely to end up with a cesarean delivery.


 

Don't feel compelled to squat when semi-sitting's doing the trick (and making you less inhibited about pushing). Read up on the different positions ahead of time and even give them a trial run, but remember that until you're actually in labor, you won't know what'll best bring you the relief — or the results — you're looking for.



If you have back labor: Leaning over, kneeling, or getting onto your hands and knees can help relieve the pain that comes from back labor.

Benefits Of Laboring In An Upright Position

Posted by Live Love Mom on February 25, 2021 at 8:15 AM Comments comments ()

by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree




Maybe you've heard mothers rave about how easy their labor was, or how fast their baby's birth was. Maybe some mothers told you how they loved their upright birthing position, or how different their birth was from the last. Maybe you want to fact-check your midwife, doula or medical provider who told you that upright positions are best for labor and delivery. 


After going to school as a doula, we learn many things about pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period. This was one of those things that we learned, and we know to encourage pregnant, laboring and birthing women to do. Here are some facts showing benefits to laboring and giving birth in an upright position, whether it's standing, crouching, sitting, or leaning. 


- In 2017, research revealed that mothers who gave birth in an upright position have a 25% less chance of getting an episiotomy and a 25% decreased chance of needing forceps or a vacuum and a 54% decreased risk of tearing.


- The baby has a 54% less chance of being in distress if it's born while the mother is in an upright position.


- Your contractions are the most effective. Certain preliminary studies have shown that an upright position during labor is just as effective as using pitocin to stimulate contractions.


- The duration of the first stage of labor, where the mother is dilated 3 to 10 centimeters, can be considerably reduced if the mother remains upright, active and mobile.


- It's been proven that an upright birth reduced medical birth assistance by 23% and 21% of episiotomies.


- It's been proven that staying in an upright position reduces the amount of time women are in the second stage of labor, also known as pushing.


- If a woman stays upright during her labor and birth, her chances of getting a cesarian is reduced by 29%.


- Being upright during labor and birth can free up 28% to 30% of room in your pelvis, which leaves room for your baby to be born.



Benefits Of Hiring A Postpartum Doula

Posted by Live Love Mom on February 11, 2021 at 8:45 AM Comments comments ()

by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree





Emotional and physical support needs are at their peak. The mother just had a whole human being exit her body, she will be exhausted, and her body will already be in overdrive to heal her from the birth as well as make milk for the newborn. Dads may feel helpless and have no idea what they can do to help. A postpartum doula will help both of you fit into your new roles as parents and answer any questions or concerns you may have. They even know tricks on how to relieve postpartum pain.



Doulas have you reflect on your birth experience and never impost any judgement or any opinions on you. Whether you had a traumatic birth or the birth of your dreams, a postpartum doula helps you navigate the memories of the birth in a way that's healthy for you. Your doula will be a shoulder for you to cry on or an ear to talk into. She is your village, which is especially useful when you don't have one. Many mothers report having more positive birth outlooks with a postpartum doula.

 


Having a doula has proven health benefits. Did you know that hiring a postpartum doula actually lowers the chances of parents getting postpartum depression, anxiety and psychosis? Who would have thought! They take care of the whole family; mother, baby, and father too. Not only can doulas allow you to get some much-needed sleep while they care for your child, but they will also make sure that you take good care of yourself. She also knows what to look for in situations where you would need to see your doctor again, such as passing large clots, failure to bond with baby, or constant sadness.



Doulas are all about supporting your choices. All prenatal courses refuse to teach new parents how to bottle-feed their child, even if you have already chosen to do so or have a medical reason for doing so. A doula will have no problem in teaching you how to bottle-feed, which formula may best suit your baby, and how to follow the instructions on the packaging. Doulas are taught and trained using evidence-based research and scientific findings so you can always ask them to help you process decisions you'll have to make so you feel more secure once you make a decision.



Your doula can help you in many different ways, depending on your own personal needs and wants. She can offer you breastfeeding support and information, do some light housework, help you cook and meal-plan, and more. She can even be there during the night while you and your partner get some much-needed sleep. She can also take care of your older children to allow you to have some bonding time with your baby. She can also assist you with newborn care and show you how to bathe your baby and how to change their diapers. She can even do some menu planning, go with you to go grocery shopping, and run errands. She can also do referrals in the community if you want any other services. They are well worth it.



The statitstics prove that it's the way to go. If you have a doula for both the birthing and postpartum period, the benefits are even more numerous. Did you know that you will have a 12% increased chance of having a spontaneous vaginal birth? The breastfeeding success rate also increases, and your labor time gets decreased an average of 40 minutes. Your baby also has a 14% decreased chance of needing to go to the NICU. There are also 34% fewer negative birth experiences with a doula. Mothers will feel more positive about their births, labors, and their postpartum periods. It's easier for parents to bond with their babies and get into a routine.



Got any more benefits to add to this list? Comment below!



Benefits Of Hiring A Birth Doula

Posted by Live Love Mom on January 14, 2021 at 8:05 AM Comments comments ()

by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree





You've read one of our previos posts which lists what a doula is, and frequently asked questions. But, do you know exactly what the benefits of having a birth doula are? Well, you're about to! Adding a doula to your birth team is a decision you will never regret, and will keep reaping the benefits for the rest of your life. Here's why!


The statistics don't lie. According to evidence-based research, people who hire doulas have:

 

- A 28% less chance of having a c-section

 

- Are 40% less likely to need pitocin to speed labor

 

- Are 60% less likely to use an epidural

 

- Reduced amount of anesthesia and for how long it's used

 

- Reduction of the use of any type of pain medication

 

Higher APGAR scores in newborns

 

- Woman report being more calm and relaxed during the birth

 

- Women report a more positive birthing experience

 

- Fewer births need forceps or vacuum extraction


- Fewer cases of fetal distress


 

How exactly are all of these benefits possible? Here's how a doula does it.

 

Doulas offer informational, physical and emotional support. They offer prenatal classes while you're pregnant for you and your partner and teach you exactly how your body, pregnancy and birth works. Doulas also physically support you by providing acupressure, massage, and more for pain relief. They also offer emotional support as they encourage you and empower you to make your own decisions and cheer you on through your labor and birth.

 

They can help you make your birth plan and choose what's right for you. They explain every procedure possible and what to plan for if things go unexpected. They will help you write your birth plan and support you in whatever choices you make and they will never judge you. If you're giving birth at a birth center or hospital, they also help you make a list of things you will need to pack for the big day. 

 

They can help your partner figure out what to do during the birth. Some partners are like deer in headlights and have no idea what to do when they see their partner in labor. Your doula will offer various options for your partner to help you during the birth. You will also be able to express what you would like your partner to do, such as show you affection, catch the baby, or cut the umbillical cord, and everything in between. Your doula also works with your partner to meet your needs. They can take turns feeding you ice chips and putting a cold compress on your head or changing the bath water, massage you, and anything else.

 

They are also called birth coaches and are great for encouragement. They are your own personal cheerleaders. They will remind you that you can do this, and empower you to assert your rights and preferences. They will give you strength when you need it and be someone to lean on when neccessary. They will also usher people out of the room that you have not agreed to be in there, so you can rest assured your nosy neighbors won't be allowed to enter your sacred space if you don't want them to! They're like a night light, they watch over you and ensure that you're well taken care of.

 

They help the entire family adjust to their new roles. You only have nine months to wrap your head around the fact that you will become parents. A doula helps you prepare for everything, even if it's just making a list of baby items you will need. They can also offer advice to your loved ones on how they can best support you during and after your pregnancy. They can encourage you to maintain a routine once the baby is born and teach you how to breastfeed or bottle-feed, whichever you choose.

 

Doulas are certified and undergo training so they know what they're doing. They have experience and know how this works, and most of them are parents themselves. Whether they are fresh out of school or have decades of work behind them, each doula is full of knowledge and is excited to help you and your family. They want to give you the best experience of your life and give you space after the birth to bond with your baby and to be a family. 


So what are you waiting for? Hire one today!

 

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What Is A Doula?

Posted by Live Love Mom on December 18, 2020 at 8:30 AM Comments comments ()

by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree




What is a doula?


A doula is someone trained in pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum and breastfeeding who is there to provide support (informational, emotional and physical) to the mother throughout the birth process.

 

A doula is a woman who provides support to the mother and her partner or single mother that is unconditional. She will listen, and not judge, she is there to help empower you to make the right decisions that are best for you and your baby. A doula is a special part of your incredible journey of birth, doulas create a bond of trust, comfort, knowledge and positive encouragement. A doula is someone that is consistently with you throughout your entire labour, the relationship between you is a bond held together by sincere compassion and trust. A doula has experience recognizing cues, sounds, and facial expressions and is able to respond with the appropriate comfort encouragement.

 

Doulas generally hold consultations in your home or where you are most comfortable. She helps to remind your partner or support person the tools they learned in prenatal classes and doula consultations.

 

What does the word “doula” mean?


The word “doula” comes from ancient Greek meaning ‘woman caregiver or servant’. Throughout history women have supported other women in their community during the childbirth process, which typically took place at home. Today, professional birth doulas take on this role when mothers are looking for someone to provide the emotional and physical support they need during their birth experience.

 

Are doulas accepted in hospitals?

 

Doulas have been working in hospitals for many years and doulas have been cultivating positive relationships with staff at the hospital. Hospitals recognize us as health practitioners. Nurses are often very happy to see a doula since this can mean the client is well educated on birth matters and she has extra support in the delivery and postpartum room.

 

Do I need a doula if I have a midwife or I am having a home birth?

 

A midwife has a very different role then a doula. A midwife is your primary care provider she will take care of all your medical needs and has huge responsibilities just as an Obstetrcian does. Her time is spent monitoring the baby, and charting your labour, she is responsible for the health and well being of you and your baby.

 

Doulas will be there for you often sooner then your midwife to help you through your labour providing labour tools such as massage, breathing techniques, acupressure, doulas will never leave your side unless for a washroom break. A doula is consistent in her care for you and your partner.

 

If I have a doula, will my husband/partner still be able to participate in the birth?

 

Absolutely! The doula provides support to both the mother and her partner. She ensures the partner plays a key role in the process, to the extent he/she is comfortable.

 

What happens if I end up having a cesarean section?

 

Advocacy is extremely important whether it’s a c-section or vaginal delivery. Doulas sometimes are allowed in the operating room for support. When things are moving quickly we can help you to gain perspective of the situation and help to slow things down and take the “emergency” out of a non-emergency situation. Doulas are there to help remind the partners, doctors and nurses of your birth wishes and help to keep the mother calm and relaxed.

 

Doulas help to facilitate skin to skin after a c-section. This is very important for breastfeeding, bonding, temperature and blood sugar balancing for the baby.

 

Does a doula replace my nurse? doctor? midwife?

 

No. Doulas do not replace any medical personnel. Doulas do not perform any medical tests or procedures such as taking blood pressure, temperature, monitoring fetal heart rate, etc. Their role is to provide comfort and support and to make sure the requests of the mother are being met. She can also help with communication between the family and the medical staff. A doula does not make decisions for you, but can assist with making your needs clear to the medical staff.

 

What are the benefits of a birth doula?


Research has shown that when a birth doula is present, labour tends to be shorter and with fewer complications. Women who use doulas report having more positive feelings about their childbirth experience. Doula assisted births have a reduced need for pitocin to induce labour or any other delivery assistance, such as forceps or vacuum. There is also a reduction in the request for pain medications, epidurals and cesareans when a birth doula is used.

 

Are doulas licensed?


Most doulas are trained and certified by recognized organizations and attend a program. Be sure you are hiring a certified birth doula by asking for their certification. Some organizations that provide certification in Canada are: CAPPA, CBI, DONA, ICEA, and Birth Arts International.

 

How do I find a doula?

 

Any of the above organizations have a search page to locate a doula in your area. When you find some prospects (they are available around your due date), you should meet with each of them and bring along a list of questions. It is important to meet a prospective birth doula in person to make sure you are compatible. Here are some sample questions which should assist you in making your final decision.



What To Put In Your Hospital Bag

Posted by Live Love Mom on April 14, 2020 at 7:35 AM Comments comments ()

by: Stephanie McEndree



As a mother of two, I know a thing or two about packing a hospital bag, or even a bag for a birth center. It's good to have everything on hand when you're leaving your home to give birth. Pack the comforts of your own home. You can pack up to three days worth of items for a vaginal birth, and about five to seven days worth for a c-section. Here are the essential items I brought with me.

  1. Diapers
  2. Bottles and formula if formula feeding
  3. Nursing bra if breastfeeding
  4. Nipple cream if breastfeeding
  5. Breast pump if breastfeeding
  6. Breast pads if breastfeeding
  7. At least 3 baby outfits per day you'll be away from home; 2 day outfits and pyjamas
  8. 6 Recieving blankets, or 2 per day
  9. 3 Warm blankets, or 1 per day
  10. 3 pairs of socks, or 1 per day
  11. 3 pairs of mittens, or 1 per day
  12. Car seat
  13. 3 Hats or 1 per day
  14. 3 Changes of clothes for mom or 1 per day
  15. Chap stick for mom
  16. Granola bars or other snacking items
  17. Juice bottles or water bottles to stay hydrated
  18. Warm socks for mom
  19. Snacks for dad 
  20. Changes of clothes for dad, 1 per day
  21. Reading materials for dad
  22. Toothbrush & toothpaste for each parent
  23. Camera
  24. Mobile phones
  25. Phone chargers
  26. Camera chargers
  27. Hair brush
  28. Deoderant
  29. Travel-sized shampoo, body wash and conditioner bottles
  30. Winter coats if it's winter
  31. Burp cloths
  32. Old underwear
  33. Adult diapers or maxi overnight postpartum pads
  34. Q-tips
  35. Nail file
  36. iPod for music
  37. Mints for a sugar boost and to freshen breath
  38. Tennis ball for massaging the mom's back
  39. Pyjamas for the parents
  40. Slippers for the parents
  41. Birth plan
  42. Makeup to make you feel better

Can you think of anything else you brought along that helped you? Comment below!